Regular strawberry consumption may help the body fight oxidative stress by increasing immune cell defences, according to research.
The study, published in the journal Food Chemistry, revealed a “highly pronounced” reduction of Antioxidative Activity of Phycocyanobilin (AAPH) – induced hemolysis, which manages the production of free radicals in the blood, after the strawberry consumption period indicating increased red blood cell resistance to oxidative damage.
The results showed the immune system’s peripheral blood mononucleated cells (PBMC) experienced a “significant increase” in all the parameters of DNA damage examined. Following the two-week strawberry intervention, no changes in the extent of spontaneous DNA damage were recorded in control cells.
“The results of this study provide further evidence that consumption of strawberries for only two weeks is sufficient to improve basal antioxidant defences and enhance blood lipids and cell protection against acute oxidative challenges,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers looked at the direct and indirect antioxidant role of strawberry bioactive compounds on participants who consumed a daily average of 500g strawberries, depending on the body weight of the participant, for two weeks.
Strawberry Fields forever
The 18 screened participants – eight males and ten females with an average age of 35 – were asked not to change their dietary habits but to avoid eating strawberries until the experiment began, with participants keeping a food diary running up to and during the test period. After an overnight fast, blood was collected at the beginning and end of the two-week period of strawberry consumption.
Meanwhile, it did not reveal any significant changes in total plasma antioxidant capacity or in serum concentration of vitamin C and uric acid.
The researchers concluded: “Due to the importance of a good equilibrium between endogenous/exogenous oxidative stress and antioxidant defenses for preserving health and longevity, micronutrient and phytochemical antioxidants in fruit and vegetables may fulfill an important role in reducing cell oxidative damage and preventing the development of chronic diseases.”
Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.01.098
“Strawberry intake increases blood fluid, erythrocyte and mononuclear cell defenses against oxidative challenge”
Authors: S. Tulipani, T. Armeni, et al